Comet scrappage scheme revealed to be PR sham
Last month, Comet's PR agency spent the day drinking Bolly from one another's mouths and dancing naked across the rooftops of London, frenetically masturbating into hats like spider monkeys on heat. Of course they didn't, but they probably felt they had every right to after their latest media wheeze. Comet announced they were trialling a white goods scrappage scheme, a story that was picked up by the likes of The Daily Mail, The Guardian, Which? and Bitterwallet, naturally.
While we were too busy competing in the weekly bread frisbee championship to cut and paste the entire press release, that didn't stop others eagerly copying the details without checking the facts. Which? for example ran with the following detail:
"In partnership with BSH Home Appliances Ltd, Comet's scrappage scheme offer is available for a limited time only, from today (10 September) until Monday 14 September - but may be extended.
"Offers include the Siemens Dishwasher SN26M290GB, reduced from £619.90 to £495.90."
ERT has since drilled down through the information and found the whole affair to a nonsense wrapped in a sham. For starters, the scheme confused the customer's expectations; instead of a cash allowance against a product (such as the Government's car scrappage scheme) Comet offered a discount against specific products - so more like a sale, then. Then there was the matter of the discount; Comet had previously sold the highlighted dishwasher at a price considerably lower than the cost with discount. In July it was only £469.99, by the end of August it cost £499.99, eventually rising to £619 by mid-September. Just in time for the scrappage promotion, then.
The publicity irritated the living daylights out of Comet's competitors, specifically because plenty were selling the highlighted products for less. This led to them banging on the door of BSH Home Appliances (who supply Bosch and Siemens branded goods to the trade), who admitted they had no dealings with Comet in relation to the promotion:
“BSH has no specific agreement with Comet to run a ‘scrappage’ scheme. BSH has given no specific financial support in respect of this campaign."
ERT goes on to criticise Which? specifically for repeating the details of the promotion in parrot-fashion; the consumer champs only reviewed dishwashers the month before the promotion and highlighted the Siemens dishwasher at the previously lower price.